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Unusual Headgear


Stoppage Drill

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There was a thread on this headgear a couple of years ago that I cannot locate. As I recall there was no definitive conclusion, but the preponderance of thinking leaned toward the headgear as a temporary stopgap for a shortage in the normal caps.

Do you have a date for your photo?

6SHBedfordApril281915_zps77c0f66f.jpg

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Published July 1916, but I can't say when it was taken.

If the actual scene in the photo was close to July 1916, then that would be inconsistent with the hypothesis about a temporary shortage. But who knows when it was actually taken.

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I think that Ghillie hat is the best description. A typical Scottish country headwear that would have been easy to make.

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Thank you Gordon. I see that (predictably maybe) that some contributions to the earlier thread confuse these "ghillie hats" with the widely worn colonial "Smashers" which were adopted and then more or less monopolised by the Australians.

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Here's a photo of a soldier in one of these hats - there is another already mentioned in one of the earlier threads, but in the case of this photo the following comments have been added, and these might assist with trying to decide what the hat is.

http://www.historylinksarchive.org.uk/picture/number1134.asp

The comments read:

Although sadly, I cannot identify this soldier, he is a member of 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders. This photo was almost certainly taken outside his billet house in Bedford in April 1915. In the first winter of the war, the glengarry was found to be impractical, and so this rather strange form of headdress was one short lived attempt to overcome the problem. As the other photos show, the Tam O' Shanter bonnet soon took its place.

Many thanks for your informative comment - Administrator
Added by Gus Mackay on 12 April 2012
Definitely a Bedford photo. A W Pierce took the majority of photos of Seaforth men outside their billets in the town when the Highland Division was stationed there (August 1914 - April 1915). Head gear dates this to c. April 1915, shortly before the 1/5th Seaforth left Bedford with the Division, destined for France. Some companies of the 1/6th Seaforth also wore this form of hat during the same period. Note that the man is also wearing the Imperial Service badge on his right breast which indicates that, as a Territorial soldier, he has volunteered for overseas service.

Many thanks for your comment - Administrator
Added by Richard Galley on 22 June 2012
The headgear looks to me like a glengarry with a cover over it.
Added by Adam Brown on 26 June 2012
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Here's a photo of a soldier in one of these hats - there is another already mentioned in one of the earlier threads, but in the case of this photo the following comments have been added, and these might assist with trying to decide what the hat is.

http://www.historylinksarchive.org.uk/picture/number1134.asp

The comments read:

Although sadly, I cannot identify this soldier, he is a member of 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders. This photo was almost certainly taken outside his billet house in Bedford in April 1915.

Interesting photo. Doubt it's taken in Bedford as suggested on that link - the photographer appears to be from Nottingham.......

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Here's a photo of a soldier in one of these hats - there is another already mentioned in one of the earlier threads, but in the case of this photo the following comments have been added, and these might assist with trying to decide what the hat is.

http://www.historylinksarchive.org.uk/picture/number1134.asp

The comments read:

Although sadly, I cannot identify this soldier, he is a member of 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders. This photo was almost certainly taken outside his billet house in Bedford in April 1915. In the first winter of the war, the glengarry was found to be impractical, and so this rather strange form of headdress was one short lived attempt to overcome the problem. As the other photos show, the Tam O' Shanter bonnet soon took its place.

Many thanks for your informative comment - Administrator

Added by Gus Mackay on 12 April 2012
Definitely a Bedford photo. A W Pierce took the majority of photos of Seaforth men outside their billets in the town when the Highland Division was stationed there (August 1914 - April 1915). Head gear dates this to c. April 1915, shortly before the 1/5th Seaforth left Bedford with the Division, destined for France. Some companies of the 1/6th Seaforth also wore this form of hat during the same period. Note that the man is also wearing the Imperial Service badge on his right breast which indicates that, as a Territorial soldier, he has volunteered for overseas service.

Many thanks for your comment - Administrator

Added by Richard Galley on 22 June 2012
The headgear looks to me like a glengarry with a cover over it.

Added by Adam Brown on 26 June 2012

It is most definitely not a glengarry with a cover on it. The previous thread examined this exhaustively.

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I was struck by the same resemblance, so the 1932 - 34 cap was not so much experimental as a proposed reintroduction. Although the Scottish variant appears to be in a waterproof Macintosh material, whilst the I.W.Rifles caps and I think the later types were in uniform serge.

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I was struck by the same resemblance, so the 1932 - 34 cap was not so much experimental as a proposed reintroduction. Although the Scottish variant appears to be in a waterproof Macintosh material, whilst the I.W.Rifles caps and I think the later types were in uniform serge.

Yes, you are right on both counts.

I think it was part of a general flirting with country/hunting attire by progressive pragmatists who had been fighting a conflict of opinion with traditionalists for 3 decades. The former had been influential in introducing the Norfolk style patrol jackets that after some years in use had been replaced by the 4-patch pocket type that was considered more 'smart' by the traditionalists. There is some evidence that the progressives were connected with Wolseley and the traditionalists with Roberts. It was Wolseley that influenced the introduction of Norfolks as long ago as the late 1870s. The Ghillie hat seems to have come from the same school of thought and was well ahead of its day.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Interesting photo. Doubt it's taken in Bedford as suggested on that link - the photographer appears to be from Nottingham.......

This is a Bedford photo - 100%!!

A.W. Pierce of Nottingham visited Bedford to photograph the Highland Division at its War Station. Pierce appears to have had some affinity, with, or connection to the Seaforth Highlanders as there are several images he took pre-War of Seaforth battalions at camp in Nottinghamshire as well as in Scotland. Anyway, he came to Bedford and walked the streets (primarily those in the Seaforth and Cameron Brigade's billeting area) photographing soldiers outside their billets. He would then develop the photos, print them in the form of post cards and sell these back to the soldiers. The reason why we have such a wealth of images of the Highlanders in Bedford is down to the likes of A.W. Pierce. How can we be sure that it's Bedford? Well, the 5th and 6th Seaforth were the only battalions of the Highland Division to wear the Glengarry cover (for that is what is was) and only then for a very brief period of time c.mid-April 1915 to late May 1915. Once they left Bedford and got to France the Glengarry cover was soon dispensed with.

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Yes, you are right on both counts.

I think it was part of a general flirting with country/hunting attire by progressive pragmatists who had been fighting a conflict of opinion with traditionalists for 3 decades. The former had been influential in introducing the Norfolk style patrol jackets that after some years in use had been replaced by the 4-patch pocket type that was considered more 'smart' by the traditionalists. There is some evidence that the progressives were connected with Wolseley and the traditionalists with Roberts. It was Wolseley that influenced the introduction of Norfolks as long ago as the late 1870s. The Ghillie hat seems to have come from the same school of thought and was well ahead of its day.

So, we can lay to rest the long running debate about the Ghillie hats. Were they hats in their own right, or a cover for the standard issue Glengarry? Sorry FROGSMILE but the Seaforth boys shown elsewhere on this thread are definitely wearing covers over their Glengarries.

They were khaki canvas covers which were intended to keep the woollen Glengarry dry, but (more importantly) the brim prevented rainwater running straight down into the wearer's face and neck. On the 20th April 1915, a soldier called 'Adie' of 'B' Coy 5th Seaforth Highlanders wrote a letter to his sister from Bedford. In amongst the news of the Division's impending departure for Active Service he states:

"We got a great deal of new stuff, even khaki covers for our Glengarries and puttees instead of the spats, so you would hardly know any of us in our new rig."

As far as the Highland Division is concerned, the covers seem only to have been worn by the 5th and 6th Seaforth between mid-April 1915 and late May 1915. I understand that they were dispensed with shortly after the battalions arrived in France.

Best,

Richard

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As the Glengarry was not part of the uniform of the Isle of Wight Rifles they would have had a separate cap - no Glengarry, no need for a cover.

That however does not exclude the possibility of a waterproof cover, made of Mackintosh style material for the said headdress.

G

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So, we can lay to rest the long running debate about the Ghillie hats. Were they hats in their own right, or a cover for the standard issue Glengarry? Sorry FROGSMILE but the Seaforth boys shown elsewhere on this thread are definitely wearing covers over their Glengarries.

They were khaki canvas covers which were intended to keep the woollen Glengarry dry, but (more importantly) the brim prevented rainwater running straight down into the wearer's face and neck. On the 20th April 1915, a soldier called 'Adie' of 'B' Coy 5th Seaforth Highlanders wrote a letter to his sister from Bedford. In amongst the news of the Division's impending departure for Active Service he states:

"We got a great deal of new stuff, even khaki covers for our Glengarries and puttees instead of the spats, so you would hardly know any of us in our new rig."

Sorry Richard, but I think you are confusing two very seperate pieces of kit as the same thing. Specific glengarry covers were introduced during the early part of the war, but these were literally khaki drill envelopes with a drawstring at the base designed to make it less distinctive. They did not have any sort of brim, and thus really did nothing to make the glengarry any better at resisting the elements than had previously been the case. These were relatively short lived anyway as the khaki tam'o'shanter was eventually settled on for field use soon after, and from the date of "Adie's" letter I am sure these are what he was referring to.

Incidentally, a seller on Ebay was recently selling a collection of WW1 uniform that had all originally belonged to Second Lieutenant Christopher D Wyles of the 4th Battalion The Hampshire Regiment. The following item was included, and whilst it doesn't appear to be identical to those sported by the various pre-war OR's it certainly seems to be in the same style, and is clearly designed as a seperate cap and not as a cover:

http://postimg.org/image/fem6ol99v/full/

image.jpg

http://postimg.org/image/ymhwuoo0d/full/

image.jpg

http://postimg.org/image/co9gdqyf7/full/

image.jpg

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Sorry Andrew, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I saw the Hants hat on ebay (very similar to my 1990s Barbour waxed hat!) ... it's not the same as the 'hat' worn by the 5th and 6th Seaforth. Slightly similar, but not the same. Whilst I take the point that there was an 'official' Glengarry cover, the one worn by the 5th and 6th Seaforth in Bedford appears to have been an 'unofficial' item, which is probably why it was so short lived. Looks like we haven't put this one to bed, after all!

More pics of 5th Seaforth in Bedford

http://i1334.photobucket.com/albums/w649/galleyr/2382_zpsc6c32629.jpg

http://i1334.photobucket.com/albums/w649/galleyr/dornochhistorylinks5thsfth2_zps8881409b.jpg

http://i1334.photobucket.com/albums/w649/galleyr/dornochhistorylinks5thsfth1_zpsd66b34a0.jpg

The chap on the right in dornochhistorylinks5thsfth2_zps8881409b.jpg is the same one as appears in dornochhistorylinks5thsfth1_zpsd66b34a0.jpg. One with Glengarry, the other with Glengarry cover (although you could argue that it's a different hat ... but please don't!!).

All best

Richard

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Okay, here's another one in the series. Look very carefully and you can just about discern the shape of the Glengarry badge through the cover.

http://i1334.photobucket.com/albums/w649/galleyr/1156_zps5a984a67.jpg

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I've been trying to find something since this thread started. Tracked it down at last! Unfortunately due to technical problems I can't reproduce a copy.

There is a picture on page 74 of Westlake's "British Army of August 1914" showing of all things the drums and bugles of 9 King's Liverpool Regiment in 1910. They seem to be wearing what looks a bit like a Mountie's hat except that the brim seems to be narrower. The men are wearing them "set" in many different ways - plain straight, with a dent in the top, pitched to one side... The men seem to be wearing normal SD otherwise.

R.

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I've been trying to find something since this thread started. Tracked it down at last! Unfortunately due to technical problems I can't reproduce a copy.

There is a picture on page 74 of Westlake's "British Army of August 1914" showing of all things the drums and bugles of 9 King's Liverpool Regiment in 1910. They seem to be wearing what looks a bit like a Mountie's hat except that the brim seems to be narrower. The men are wearing them "set" in many different ways - plain straight, with a dent in the top, pitched to one side... The men seem to be wearing normal SD otherwise.

R.

This photo is of the Highland Division engineers in Bedford (08/14 - 05/15).

picforforum010115a_zps1b5cdc6a.jpg

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This photo is of the Highland Division engineers in Bedford (08/14 - 05/15).

picforforum010115a_zps1b5cdc6a.jpg

That looks very much like the same thing with even more styles of wearing the hat. There were no turned up brims in the band of 9 King's.

That hat must have been the despair of sergeant majors - so many different ways of wearing it!

R.

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Without wanting the muddy the waters more ...

What about this picture: Note it is an AW Pierce (Nottingham) picture but I do not think it is a Bedford picture as the writing on the reverse indicates it was sent from "Camp" on 25th of July (no year noted) to a Midlothian address.

So who are these chaps? Sporting 1903 equipment and carrying Charger Loading Lee Enfields (so the picture must date from after 1908), cutaway Service Dress Jackets (but not kilts) .... and bush hats! (of the traditional kind I think)

post-14525-0-06915300-1420173347_thumb.j

Suggestions as to the identity of this group?

Chris

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